A NEW YEAR…A NEW YOU!
Though many of us have been focused on holiday parties, family festivities, and winter activities, there is another holiday tradition looming just around the bend: New Year’s Resolutions.
It’s time to ditch traditional New Year Resolutions entirely in favor of something a bit more attainable: let’s call them New Years Intentions.
You see, I’ve never liked the word resolutions. It invokes the tried (and often failed) tradition of making quantitative goals that more often than not wane after a month or two. They don’t do us much good.
By setting an intention I am referring to thinking about how you want to live, engage in the world, and get the most out of your life while looking towards the future. When you lack intention, that’s when you may stray from your path, or feel like you’re lacking focus in your life.
The great thing about setting an intention is that you can make this a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly process. You also might have different intentions for different time periods. For example, one of my daily intentions is to be mindful of how I interact with those around me, my thoughts, actions, and my speech.
An example of a yearly intention is paying more attention to my health, and think about how I am caring for myself. This is different than saying “for my new year’s resolution I want to lose 20 pounds and am going to stay away from junk food. According to mindfulminutes.com, setting an intention should not be confused with a goal. They refer to an intention as “… an aim, a purpose, or attitude you’d be proud to commit to.” It’s like the old Buddhist saying “what you think what you become.”
5 Tips to Start Helping You Set Intentions
Here are some ways to set positive intentions in your life, whether that be for new year’s, or every day of the week.
First and foremost, make your intention positive. The more you are positive in your life, the more you will attract positive things. That may be something related to your personal life, work life, or spiritual life. Whatever it is for you, the importance of positivity is key in setting a successful intention.
Secondly, set realistic intentions, with realistic time frames. You know how some people say “the bigger, the better.” Well, when setting an intention, it’s probably the opposite. You want to set yourself up for success, which might mean smaller, more frequent intention setting. Just like in the example I gave earlier, waking up an setting an intention for the day gets you started on the right foot.
Next, write your intentions down. Get a separate journal or notebook, and keep track of your intentions. You can add to that in any way you like, or just have it as a list for your reference. Similar to when you write down what you’re grateful for, this creates a larger chance of your gaining something from the process of setting your intentions.
Some people find that sharing their intention with a friend, co-worker, or loved one, they are not only held more accountable, but are able to receive support from those people in helping you stayed focused on your intention.
Lastly, if you are setting a daily intention, try to spend some time meditating. This helps clear your mind and really focus on what your intention is for that day. If you are saying “I don’t have time to meditate”, all it takes is 5 minutes. That’s part of setting the intention as well.
If you are interested in learning more about setting intentions and how they can be helpful in your daily life, please feel free to contact me.
Increase your chances of success
At the start of each year, many of us reflect on what we want to change and what we can do to improve our lives. While I believe it’s important to be introspective, I think creating New Year’s resolutions often sets us up for failure and disappointment.
With resolutions, we come up with a goal: lose weight, quit smoking, drink less, make healthier relationship choices, whatever it may be. Then after a few weeks, we give up and feel even worse than when we started. It’s an unfortunate cycle that continues year after year.
Why resolutions don’t work
Resolutions are often wildly unrealistic or out of alignment with our self-image – a situation referred to as “false hope syndrome.”
Failed resolutions are often the result of mistaken cause and effect: we might believe that if we lose weight, reduce our debts, or exercise more, our entire lives will magically change. So even if we meet these challenges, we’re likely to revert to our bad habits when we see that our old lives remain pretty much intact, except for this one improvement.
Set an intention
Being specific about how you intend to act on a goal will help you achieve it. An intention is how you plan to approach a task or experience. This is always within your control, which means it offers more solid ground to build on. If you reframe your perspective and start to think in terms of setting an intention, you will increase your chances of success.
This requires rewiring your brain and changing your way of thinking. Due to the power of your subconscious mind, good and bad habits become ingrained through repeated actions and thoughts. To create change, you need to reroute the circuitry in your brain.
Breaking old patterns requires introducing new ideas, and then strengthening them over time. Through repetition, these new thoughts will eventually become ingrained in your mind.
Come up with a plan of action
Start by envisioning the person you want to become. Visualize where you want to be in the future, and think of three alternatives to every habit you want to change.
Choose a goal you’ve been wanting to pursue – for example, eating healthier. Approach your goal with an action-oriented plan that creates steps you can take to achieve it: “I intend to ____ by ____.” An example would be, “I intend to eat healthier by bringing my own lunch to work.”
Intentions For Your Mind
• What are you predominantly thinking about? How are those thoughts serving you?
• What feels hopeful when you think about it? What feels possible?
• Remember: We can choose which thoughts we focus on.
Intentions For Your Body
• Is your health where you’d like it to be? If so, how do you maintain this momentum?
• If not, what would you like to change about your health?
• Remember: We are what we eat, drink, feel, and think.
Intentions For Your Spirit
• Are you comfortable with your feelings of purpose and direction? Are your relationships with others joyful and fulfilling? If you’ve answered ‘no’ to either question, how might reconnecting with your inner being help you find better balance?
• Remember: Taking a few minutes to be quiet, breathe, and relax in silence each day can make a significant difference in our feelings of purpose and connectedness.
One last suggestion: Think short, attainable goals to support your intentions. For example, in response to my intention to keep my body healthy and strong, I might plan a goal: “Starting on Monday, I will take a brisk walk during my lunchtime at least three days a week.” Always make it something measurable and possible.
Think of what you’d like to intend for your life during this next year. Start here—start now, and you will set yourself up to make it a happy new year!!!